Album Reviews

The Kills – Keep On Your Mean Side

UK release date: 10 March 2003


When The Kills supported Primal Scream on their touraround the UK last December, they came across like apair of chain smoking backstage types giving it someloose garage Blues Explosion / Royal Trux forbeginners. Looking as if they had just enjoyed anafternoon of extremely hard drugs, it would only be amatter of time before the sweaty feral sex began.

Hotel and VV (or, if youre their mums: Jaime andAlison) first met after exchanging tapes by post.Hotel’s previous experience was in the underrated Scarfo, but itwas only when VV eventually moved to the UK that TheKills started to take shape.

Aided by only a drummachine – they stopped just short of making it amember, as the only two drummers they wanted wereeither Mo Tucker or Bobby Gillespie – our heroes playa stripped down punksome blues which keys in on allthe very ‘now’ and ‘yeah’ reference points, but escapeintact with something that’s uniquely them.

Superstition has a nice bit of PJ Harvey tension,with smidgeons of Sonic Youth and Patti Smith, as doesthe strutsome Cat Claw, whilst Kissy Kissy is soVelvets you half expect a smacked upGerman model to start droning tunelessly over it. Thesplendid Black Rooster just holds off – barreferences to Lancashire – from becoming a Fall song,but pick of the bunch is the catchy, if not exactlycd:uk friendly Fuck The People.

Keep On Your Mean Side is marvellous, rockin’ album,but really should come with a health warning. It’sthe sound of scuffed shoes and bad diets of fags andcrisps, the sound of sleazy backroom saucing – and itprobably hasn’t changed its underwear lately either.

Oh – and it’s rather fantastic too.


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More on The Kills
The Kills – Ash & Ice
The Kills – Blood Pressures
The Kills – Midnight Boom
The Kills @ Soho Revue Bar, London
The Kills – No Wow